Archive for June, 2011
The present is consistently with everyone; it stands beside one like a friend, never flaunting ahead like an inept child one must watch with a careful eye, while never slinking behind where one might think it is an obsessive stalker. However, the present is only noticed a few times before one’s attention returns to the future or past.
How can you stay in the present?
These are three ways to help you live the moment:
This technique is the simplest way to stay present and can be done anywhere except in the water (that is just dangerous). When your mind starts to wonder to the future or past, take a couple of breaths and focus your mind on inhaling and exhaling.
2. Be aware of the environment.
Use the five senses. Listen to the sounds around you, notice the way things feel, when eating or drinking pay attention to the flavors, etc.
3. Experience things as if it was the first time.
This ties in together with the previous way. However, it helps when there are difficulties on being aware with your surroundings. For example, when eating a gummy bear. Take the role of someone who has never seen or even heard about the gummy bear. Look, smell, and touch the gummy bear carefully. When eating the bear, instead of chewing it up, let it marinate on your tongue before chewing. There will be new things you will find within the gummy bear or anything else.
The present is like the thin piece of cheese surrounded by the past and future as slices of bread. Though it is the bread that makes up the majority of the sandwich, it is the flavorful piece of cheese that is the real essences of a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy it.
The truth of impermanence is one of the Three Universal Characteristics. Understanding that nothing lasts forever is not an entirely difficult task – living with the truth of impermanence can often feel like an unbearable feat.
I think people best understand the how bittersweet impermanence can be when they have to say good-bye. Currently, I am facing two terribly difficult, but necessary good-byes.
In less than a month, I will bid my teacher, Su T. farewell as he begins his journey to a foreign land. In the short time that I have known my teacher, I have learned priceless lessons that have made me into a better person. Not only have I expanded my knowledge of Buddhism through Su T., I have gained a moral compass and a spiritual friend.
In a somewhat ironic set of events, I will also say good-bye to my own students. For the past few months, I have been working as a tutor. However, I have been accepted for an internship and, as a result, can no longer continue working at my current employment. Although I haven’t worked there all that long, the good-bye will still be a difficult one for me. There have been several students that have taught me how to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate. There are others that make me laugh and some that truly make me excited to see what the future generation will deliver.
Impermanence is not an easy truth to embrace, but denying it altogether will only cause more suffering. Instead of fighting the inevitably of impermanence, take the time to savor every moment.
Just this week, i had been lucky enough to go the the LA Zoo to study animal behavior with one of my classes, where i chanced upon a couple of gargantuan hippos.
So thats just one of them lying there and looking like a rock, but back to my story.
While observing the hippo, one of the zoo workers had placed a plate of food away from this sleeping hippo, and next to the more active one. The eating hippo then proceeds to take food into its mouth but, it walks right over to the resting hippo and places its food right in front of its dear buddy, and the moving hippo does this until around half the content of the food bowl is left.
I had never thought animals could be so considerate to each other. Maybe it might be because i don’t see animals everyday, but this surprising act of kindness really caught me off guard. If a hippo can do this once a day, then i know the 7 billion people out there can set aside a little time and manage a simple kind task once a day too.
In terms of timelime, our thoughts can be categorized in either the past, the present, or the future.
I have recently found most of my thoughts in the last category, forgetting about what was around me. The well written post Live Now makes a good point about the importance of the present moment. While thinking of the future gives a sense of direction, it is uncertain, and one cannot experience and truly live in the future. The same holds for the past, as it is already done, and immutable. Both are important, and not to be forgotten, but the present is where we currently are, and is affected by what we currently do.
Living now allows us to fully live and not to worry about what was and what will be. Living now allows us to make the best decisions based on the current conditions. Living now allows us to be more mindful, and be happy, now.
The Pali word “metta” is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, fellowship, amity, and non-violence. Metta is a universal, unselfish, and all-embracing love.
It is our motivation of human nature to promote our own interests. So when we transform that urge into the desire to promote the interests and happiness of others, we are promoting our own well-being in the best possible manner. I truly believe that metta makes the world a better place. I’m sure that every single one of us in the Young Wisdom Project try to incorporate metta into our everyday lives, and I would like to encourage everyone else to do the same.
In continuation of Limitless:
Get past the artificial boundaries and give to your heart’s content. Observe and accept the continual change in life. Let go of the unnecessary delusions, meditate when you can, be kind, and most important, live in the present moment. Take care of your own mind and body, and may you all be happy and well!